Mr. Fred Zaitsu
SGI-USA General Director
Don Ross
Notice of Independence

November 29, 1999

Dear Mr. Zaitsu,

Please accept my resignation as a member of the Soka Gakkai International. This has not been an easy decision to come to, but I feel it is the correct course of action for my own life. I remember when the "temple issue" first erupted. I read everything I could get my hands on, from SGI and NST alike. I made a strong vow in my heart that I would remain in the Gakkai to affect change from within until I could do no more.

Over the years I have fought for the SGI, traveling to Lake County, Califorinia, nearly every month from 1991 through 1996 visiting the SGI, Independent and Hokkeko members in my district. All through the '90s, I have been one of the few willing to openly discuss the temple issue in my local activities. It seemed to me most people wanted to keep their head in the sand and not think about it. I felt it was important to think and talk about, however one felt. I still do.

Almost two years ago the tide began to turn when Nichiren Shoshu announced the destruction of the ShoHondo. I witnessed, both in my local org and on the internet, a tremendous upsurge of emotionalism in response to this issue. In my opinion, this emotion got out of hand and mutated before my eyes from outrage into a deep seated hate which will last a generation or more. People took it personal. Mara won the battle. This was the situation, as I perceive it, at the beginning of this year.

At that time I prayed to the Gohonzon to know what action I needed to take. Thus I began to speak out against the slander I was witnessing. At the same time, I began to expand my own study of Nichiren Buddhism to include views of the other branches, with an emphasis on an in-depth study of the Lotus Sutra. The deeper I go into this study, the further I move away from official SGI doctrine on a number of key issues, as we discussed last we met. It is also noteworthy to mention that after your home visit to me on 7/11/99, there was a deafening silence from my local SGI for two months. In a sense, that was very good and it gave me a chance to experiment further in both the form and substance of my personal practice. In effect, I no longer feel a part of the SGI sangha. My beliefs and my practice have evolved. The ghee has left the Gakkai for me.

Thus I declare my Independence of any branch of Nichiren Buddhism. It is NOT my intention to join any sect, nor start my own religion. However, it is time for me to support the Independent Lotus Sutra Movement in thought, word and deed, in my own unique manner.

I choose this significant date, November 29th, the 9th anniversay of Nichiren Shoshu's excommunication of the SGI [Japanese reckoning], the SGI's Independence Day, as a reminder to each of us of the importance to continue to reflect on and deeply study the authentic writings of Nichiren Daishonin, discarding that which does not accord with the Lotus Sutra or common sense.

I have not given up hope for the great success of the SGI. Only that my path must diverge, at least for now. It is my intent to remain a Friend of the SGI, attend an occassional meeting, and repay my debt of gratitude to the SGI by devoting myself to the spread of the Fine Dharma of the Lotus Sutra in this Age of Chaos and Confusion in the Buddhist Order. Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

I am forwarding this letter to my immediate leaders to be removed from the membership lists effective immediately, as well as concerned friends and others on the internet. Your response, if any, will be kept confidential, unless you give your explicit permission otherwise. Thank you for your time and thoughts.

Sincerely, Don Ross

Lake County Independent Movement
Posted Letter & IRG Responses
My Song of Human Revolution
May 3, 2001

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